Senate Issues Report on Do Not (Hesitate to) Call Bill

26 Nov ’05

The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications has issued its report on Bill C-37, the Do Not (Hesitate to ) Call bill. Gist: it did virtually nothing (the report contains 2 sentences), which is essentially what I predicted when it began to review the bill in early November. I am not claiming credit for an act of unusually perceptive foresight. Merely a recognition that the Senate would be hard pressed to do anything other than live down to our expectations.

On the bright side, the Bill is unlikely to be considered by Parliament before it’s dissolved (if you have heard to the contrary, please don’t burst my bubble). Well, will it be meet the new boss, same as the old boss? If anything, I suspect that a Tory government (pretending arguendo that it could happen) would be even more telemarketing friendly than the Liberals. Is that possible?

Update: Good grief – only hours after I pleaded not to be disabused of the fancy that the Do Not Call bill would be pushed off the calendar, Michael Geist reports that it has been fast-tracked – presumably one of the Martin Government’s last gestures to Industry before the election campaign gets underway:

Bill C-37, the do-not-call bill, is now law in Canada. Much to seemingly everyone’ s surprise, the Senate put the bill on the fast track last week and granted it the necessary approvals. Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache gave it royal assent late on Friday, minutes before the Senate adjourned. While the Liberals will likely point to the do-not-call legislation as a noteworthy accomplishment, I would argue that it is more realistically an example of how it ultimately caved to a wide range of lobbying interests, leaving behind a statute that will do little to address the problem of annoying telemarketing calls.

Caving indeed. A positively craven last act.

The shape of this thing now seems evident.  Behind the scenes, corporate sponsors and the like were no doubt told that despite the non-confidence motion they would be taken care of.  And of course, during the election the legislation will be spun as a demonstration of the concern this Government has for the rights of ordinary Canadians.

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